Offices & Resources

May Gray Colloquium: Conservationist Liz Cunningham
May Gray Colloquium: Conservationist Liz Cunningham

On Thursday, May 14, author and conservationist Liz Cunningham visited St. Mark's as this month's Gray Colloquium speaker. She spoke on "Ocean Conservation, Globalization, and Hope for our Environmental Future."

Liz Cunningham's award-winning book, Ocean Country (North Atlantic Books, 2015), examines the state of the oceans in four key regions of the world. Her mission, she says, "is to be a voice for the life of the seas and the people who are working to save it, to inspire and empower others to join the effort to save our seas and forge a sustainable future." She writes and speak about ocean conservation and the traits we need to be effective stewards of our seas and our planet—among others, courage, an engaged hope, and our capacity to work together to implement solutions. She is currently working on two new books: The Passion for Rescue and Our Oceans, Our Breath. The Passion for Rescue is about the spirit which inspires people to undertake rescue operations and how pivotal this is to meeting environmental and humanitarian challenges. Our Oceans, Our Breath is about marine plants and algae. It's inspired by the fact that over 50% of the oxygen in every breath we take comes from marine plants and algae in the ocean. It will highlight the crucial role of marine plants and algae in ocean ecosystems and the importance of them to decarbonization efforts and restoring the earth.

After visiting classes and enjoying lunch with a group of interested students and faculty, Ms. Cunningham addressed the entire St. Mark's community in the School's Putnam Family Arts Center's Class of 1945 Hall.

The C. Boyden Gray Colloquium Series is designed to engage St. Mark's students in an exploration of one complex global issue annually. Students hear from outside speakers with varying viewpoints, participate in small group discussions, write about and debate the issue, and take part in all-community events. C. Boyden Gray '60, former Board President and current Trustee, has committed $1.5 million to fund this annual yearlong learning exercise. St. Markers, Gray believes "should think in big terms and be inquisitive about the outside world." Gray, a former U.S. Ambassador to the European Union, White House Counsel to the first President Bush, and recipient of the Presidential Citizens Medal, hopes that tackling these topics in an intensive fashion will inspire students to serve their country and the world. The theme for this year's Gray Colloquium series is "Globalization."